For much of the season, the Reds have been atop the National League in most every offensive category. Seemingly each everyday player has come through in the clutch.

The Reds lead the majors in walk-off wins and rank second in wins in their last at-bat.

Everyone seems to be having career years at the plate. Everyone, except for Jay Bruce.

Bruce, whose hustle and defensive abilities will never be a question mark, remains an offensive mystery.

In 108 games in 2008, Bruce hit .254 with 21 homers and 52 runs batted in. Last season, in 101 games, Bruce hit just .223, but managed to smack 22 long balls and drive in 58.

The numbers get increasingly odd when one takes a closer look at Bruce’s splits. The league average for on-base percentage hovers around .330.

Bruce is barely above that at .332. He’s also struck out an eye-opening 86 times in 92 games this season.

The two biggest indicators of Bruce’s trials and tribulations at the plate are his difficulties with runners in scoring position and problems against left-handed pitching.

The left-handed swinging 2005 first round pick of the Reds is hitting a measly .205 with runners in scoring position and a lackluster .182 with runners in scoring position and two outs.

More than a quarter of the Texas native’s at-bats have come with runners in scoring position.

He’s also batting .245 against southpaws this season. While that statistic isn’t terrible, one can actually see Jay’s frustrations just by watching him swing the bat.

As Reds analyst and former big league relief pitcher Jeff Brantley pointed out, Bruce appears to be intent on swinging at the first pitch if it’s anywhere near the strike zone.

What usually happens is Bruce gets behind in the count and then presses even more.

Bruce’s swing has always been on the long side, so when he’s presses at the dish, he appears to guess at what pitch is being thrown more often than not.

The Reds right fielder is 0 for his last 13. They are running out of excuses for their youngster. Bruce also seems to be bothered by the shifts opponents are playing on him in the field.

Brantley hypothesized that Dusty Baker may start a platoon in right field, with rookie Chris Heisey seeing time against left-handers.

Heisey has pop, evidenced by his five home runs in just 70 at-bats (also half of Bruce’s home run total on the season).

He’s also a small notch below Bruce on the field, who is nothing short of a Gold Glove-caliber right fielder.

If a platoon isn’t in the cards, I’d try and move Bruce up in the order. It may sound crazy, but Orlando Cabrera isn’t exactly setting the world on fire in the two spot.

Batting second would give Bruce more opportunities to hit-and-run with Brandon Phillips and take the pressure off of him as a run-producer, instead making him an initiator in the Reds lineup.

Nonetheless, the Reds are slowly running out of time with Bruce. It appears Dusty Baker may have to make yet another adjustment in his lineup.

Read more MLB news on